Since working with the children we have also been out to see what life is like for the salt pan workers and how womens groups forged through the help of SCAD help their communties grow.
Salt pan workers work near the coast on salt farms. The work is hard and the days are long. Salt water needs the right climate to dry out leaving the salt behind it takes about 30 days for the whole process to end and if there is rain it can all be destroyed in no time. The salt pan workers have to skim the salt from the fields and load it into piles and them bag it ready for shipping. They work 7 days a week from 6-1 in the afternoon and then after they have had dinner for hours in the evening. Women get 150 rupees (about 2 quid) and the men 180 rupees (just over 2 quid) per day!!!! SCAD has helped the salt pan workers to devise ways to combat debpt they have worked up with the owners of the salt plains through womens groups saving 5 rupees a month for a year and building it up until they loan each other
money without having to pay the owners whose interest rate is about 30%!! SCAD has also develpoed schools here for children to gain education and not have to work on the plains, children as young as 7 were working on the plains before this!
We also saw the great work that womens groups do in the villages. They have a house they all meet in and discuss whats going on. They decide if a child can take a loan from them to go to higher education. They also help people grow kitchen gardens to grow their own food and make business by weaving . . .
We are about to embark on an adventure that has taken us 3 years to get to. We will be volunteering in South India for 6 weeks with two charities, SCAD and Salt of The Earth. First we will travel by train from Mumbai stopping off at Goa and Alleppey along the way before we get to Tirunevelli, where we are volunteering. After India we will be traveling around Thailand, Laos and Cambodia before heading back to Bangkok to make our way to Malaysia. We plan to go to the East side of Malaysia and catch the Jungle Railway down to Singapore where we fly out to New Zealand for the last ... full info